View From Mt. Nebo
About this work:
The title View from Mt. Nebo refers to the mountaintop from which Moses looked to the Promised Land he would never reach; it is the same mountaintop to which Martin Luther King Jr. referred in his I Have a Dream speech. The story inspired me for multiple reasons: I was moved by the story itself, the yearning for a goal which can never be met; I spent a year in Israel as a student and felt the power of this monumental landscape, with its compelling starkness and luminescent atmosphere; and, the process of composing feels like a reaching towards a sacred and unattainable goal.
The music reflects the combination of yearning for an impossible goal, as well as the joy at having reached another, perhaps more critical one. Moses did lead his people to the promised land; that was more crucial than his reaching it himself. View from Mt. Nebo is cast in three movements. The first can be heard as reflecting the struggle of the journey; the second as a meditation on faith; the third as a radiant acceptance of fate. Tucked into the third movement is a reference to the Chorale tune Es Ist Genug, and to Berg’s poignant use of it in his Violin Concerto. View from Mt. Nebo was commissioned and premiered by the Garth Newel Chamber Players. It is availble from MMB Music Publishers.
Year composed: 1986
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice:Piano Trio
Instrumentation: 1 Piano, 1 Violin, 1 Cello
Instrumentation notes: vln, vc, pno